Peru is an amazing country and a destination that is well worth a visit. I always said that South America was a continent I had no desire to visit (I have a somewhat ridiculous, extreme fear of snakes and jungles), but Peru proved to be quite different than what I expected. High mountains, beautiful villages, and wonderful people were all things that I loved. And you can’t forget the baby alpacas. So cute!
- Days 1-2: Lima
- Day 1: Arrive in Lima in the evening.
- Day 2: Explore Lima, take an evening flight to Cusco, drive to the Sacred Valley
- Days 3-4: Explore the Sacred Valley, acclimate to high altitudes
- Day 5: Machu Picchu day trip, spend night in Cusco
- Day 6: Cusco
- Day 7: Tourist bus from Cusco to Puno
- Day 8: Explore Puno, including a tour of the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca
- Days 9-10: Lima
- Day 9: Fly back to Lima and spend the day sightseeing
- Day 10: Return home
You can read our full posts on each day, but we loved this itinerary. It wasn’t too fast, wasn’t too slow, and we were able to see the highlights of the country, the star being Machu Picchu. If you have more time, consider spending another night in Cusco. One more day in the Sacred Valley could have also been nice, particularly if you plan to take a full day of doing nothing while you acclimate to the high altitudes. There are also a ton of other cities that could have been fun to see.
If you are sensitive to high altitudes, make sure that you talk to your doctor before traveling, and that you spend enough time in the Sacred Valley to get acclimated before you increase the elevation even higher. The hotel staff is likely to push the controversial local remedy for altitude problems on you, so do some research before you travel. People with health issues should consider either skipping Puno/Lake Titicaca or acclimating longer at the lower elevations.
After arriving in Lima the night before, our family spent the second morning of our trip exploring the historic center of the city. Because it was Sunday, a lot of things were closed, but we were able to duck into a few churches, see a local celebration, visit a food market, and enjoy the architecture. In the afternoon, we took a flight to Cusco, where we immediately headed for somewhat lower elevation (but still really high) in the Sacred Valley, arriving in the evening.
Our third day of the trip, we decided to take a taxi tour of the Sacred Valley that included the salt mines in Moras, the Inca terraces in Moray, and the fortress ruins in Ollantaytambo. Whether traveling with kids or not, these historic sites are sure to delight.
On day four, we decided to do another taxi tour of the Sacred Valley, this time to Pisac, where we explored the Inca ruins and visited the town’s market.
Day five was the highlight of the trip, where we took a guided tour through Machu Picchu. Amazing! This historic site should not be skipped, and if you are doing family travel and aren’t up for the famous hike into this destination, it is easy to get to by train.
Our sixth day was in Cusco. There was some illness, so we didn’t do as much as we hoped, but it was still a really fun city.
Day seven was an amazing tourist bus tour from Cusco to Puno/Lake Titicaca. It is a very delightful way to get from point A to point B, and allows you to see the very high mountain villages that would otherwise be impossible to visit.
Puno marked our 8th day, the highlight being a tour of the Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca, but we also enjoyed the markets and exploration of the downtown area. Note that this city is at super high elevation (12,500 ft.), so take appropriate precautions if you decide to visit.
Our 9th day was back in Lima, where we probably could have done more, but we were happy with exploring Mira Flores, the cliff tops, the downtown area, and various markets.
Day 10 was our return to home!
It was a super fun trip, and one that I would highly recommend. If you want more detailed information, check out my full posts on each stop.